Director and Professor

Contact Details

Level 2 John Hines Building (62)
The University of Queensland
St. Lucia, Brisbane QLD 4072
phone: 61-7-3365-3550
fax: 61-7-3365-3556

Professor Gresshoff is a developmental plant geneticist with a deep interest in symbiotic nitrogen fixation of legumes. He holds the Chair of Botany at the University of Queensland, is Professor of Plant Genetics in the School of Agriculture and Food Science (SAFS, Faculty of Science, UQ), and is an Affiliate of QAAFI (UQ).

Since 2003 he is the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research. He is a Fellow of AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), the Russian Academy of Agricultural Science, and the Indian National Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

He is member of the editorial boards of several international journals (MOLECULAR PLANT, BMC Plant Genetics, BioTechniques, and J. Plant Physiology).


Peter Gresshoff obtained a BSc. in Biochemistry and Genetics from the University of Alberta (1970), a PhD. in Plant Somatic Cell Genetics from the Australian National University (1973), and a DSc. for Nodulation Genetics from ANU (1989). He was apponted as endowed Racheff Chair of Excellence for Plant Molecular Genetics in 1988 at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, then (1999) Head of Botany, University Queensland. Since 2003, he is Director of the ARC's Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research (CILR).

Gresshoff is a plant developmental geneticist, using molecular and genetic tools to understand complexities of gene networks during the control of nodule formation in legumes. He used induced developmental mutations to dissect the nodulation steps of soybean and was the first to discover and describe the details of long distance systemic regulation during nodulation Gresshoff and Delves, 1986). This model is still the working paradigm for research in this subject. He first showed that a CLAVATA1-like receptor kinase (NARK) is required for long distance signaling involved in nodulation. His group is first to demonstrate that the shoot controls the nodule number (Delves et al, 1986). His group, in collaboration with Gustavo Caetano-Anollés and Brant Bassam, invented single arbitrary primed PCR (DAF) and DNA silver staining. Recently he engaged translational biology focusing on sustainable production of biofuel from the legume tree Pongamia c.f., Scott et al, 2008).

He is a Fellow of AAAS, Indian NAAS, Russian AAS, and is was nominated for the Australian Academy of Science (2012). Professor Gresshoff has published over 350 papers, edited 10 books, and holds 11 patents. His h-index is 42, with over 9,300 citations.

Current Research

Professor Peter Gresshoff's main research interests are the following areas:

1) Functional Genomic Analysis of Nodulation and Nitrogen Fixation in Legumes:

  • Molecular components of the control of nodulation (AON) in soybean (Glycine max) and Lotus japonicus
  • Analysis of ethylene and ABA insensitive legume mutants and transgenics
  • Genetic transformation of soybean and Lotus; forward and reverse genetics
  • Developmental transcription analysis of legumes
  • Analysis of acid soil effect on nodulation and symbiotic nitrogen fixation
  • Analysis of Nodulation factor receptors NFR1 and NFR5 in soybean
  • Mutational analysis of the GmNARK receptor kinase
  • Analysis of CLE peptide signalling during legume development.
  • Nodulation control of Phaseolus vulgaris

2) Sustainable Biofuel Production from the Legume Tree Pongamia pinnata (aka Millettia pinnata):

  • Analysis of genetic diversity; molecular marker development
  • Organelle genome analysis (chloroplast and mitochondria)
  • Seed fatty acid and protein analysis
  • Field trials and geoclimatic adaptation; salt and water adaptation
  • Pongamia life cycle and growth analysis; including automated phenomics
  • Conversion technology for transportation biofuels
  • Analysis of symbiotic nitrogen fixation and nodulation
  • Clonal propagation of superior individuals
  • Gene and promoter discovery
  • Functional genomics analysis during seed development and stress adaptation
  • Genetic transformation; forward and reverse genetics.

Recent Significant Publications

Indrasumunar, A., Searle, I., Lin, M.-H., Kereszt, A., Men, A., Carroll, B.J. and Gresshoff, P.M. (2011). Nodulation factor receptor kinase 1a controls nodule organ number in soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) Plant Journal 65:39-50.

Reid, D.E., Ferguson, B.J. and Gresshoff, P.M. (2011). Inoculation- and nitrate-induced CLE peptides of soybean control NARK-dependent nodule formation. Mol. Plant Microbe Interactions 24: 606-618.

Reid, D.E., Ferguson, B.J., Hayashi, S., Y Lin Y.-H., and Gresshoff, P.M. (2011). Molecular mechanisms controlling legume autoregulation of nodulation. Annals of Botany 108: 789-795.

Biswas, B., Scott, P.T., and Gresshoff, P.M. (2011). Tree legumes as feedstock for sustainable biofuel production: Opportunities and challenges. J. Plant Physiol. 168: 1877-1884.

Lin, M.-H., Gresshoff, P.M., Indrasumunar, A., and Ferguson, B.J. (2011). pHairyRed: a novel binary vector containing the DsRed2 reporter gene for visual selection of transgenic hairy roots. Molecular Plant 4:537-545.

Lee, W.-K., Jeong, N., Indrasumunar, A., Gresshoff, P.M., and Jeong, S.-C. (2011).Glycine max Rj1 encodes NFR1a and is contained in a 1 chromosomal region containing a recombination hotspot. Theor. Appl. Genetics 122:875-884.

Lin, Y.-H., Lin, M.-H., Gresshoff, P.M., and Ferguson, P.J. (2011). An efficient petiole-feeding bioassay for introducing aqueous solutions into dicotyledonous plants. NATURE Protocols 6:36-45.

Han, L., Gresshoff, P.M., Hanan, J. (2011). A functional-structural modelling approach to autoregulation of nodulation. Annals of Botany 107: 855-863.

Jensen, E.S., Peoples, M.B., Boddey, R.M., Gresshoff, P.M., Hauggaard-Nielsen, H., Alves, B.J.R., and M. J. Morrison, M.J. (2012). Legumes for mitigation of climate change and provision of feedstocks for biofuels and biorefineries. Agr. Sustain. Development 32: 329-364.

Ferguson, B.J., Indrasumunar, A, Hayashi, S., Lin, M.-H., Lin, Y.-H., Reid, D.E., and Gresshoff, P.M. (2010).Molecular analysis of legume nodule development and autoregulation. J. Integrative Plant Biology 52: 61-76.


Han, L., Hanan, J. and Gresshoff, P.M. (2010). Computational Complementation: A modelling approach to study signalling mechanisms during legume autoregulation of nodulation. PLOS Computational Biology 6(2) :e1000685.

Gresshoff, P.M., Lohar, D., Chan, P.K., Biswas, B., Jiang, Q., Reid, D., Ferguson, B., and Stacey, G. (2009). Genetic analysis of ethylene regulation of legume nodulation. Plant Signaling and Behavior 4: 9.


Yan, J., Cai, X., Luo, J., Sato, S., Jiang, Q., Yang, J., Cao, X., Hu, X., Tabata, S., Gresshoff, P.M., and Luo, D. (2009). The REDUCED LEAFLET genes encode key components of the trans-acting siRNA pathway and regulate compound leaf and flower development in Lotus japonicus. Plant Physiology. 152: 797-807.

Additional Career-best Publications

Carroll B.J, McNeil D.L. and Gresshoff P.M. (1985)."Isolation and properties of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) mutants that nodulate in the presence of high nitrate concentrations." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA), 82: 4162-4166.

Bassam B.J., Caetano-Anollès G. and Gresshoff P.M. (1991). "A fast and sensitive silver-staining for DNA in polyacrylamide gels." Analytical Biochemistry, 196: 80-83.

Caetano-Anollès G and Gresshoff P.M. (1991)."Plant genetic control of nodulation." Ann. Rev. Microbiol., 45: 345-382.

Caetano-Anollés G., Bassam B.J. and Gresshoff P.M. (1991)."DNA amplification fingerprinting using very short arbitrary oligonucleotide primers." Bio/Technology, 9: 553-557.

Miyahara, A., Hirani, T. A., Oakes, M., Kereszt, A., Kobe, B., Djordjevic, M.A. and Gresshoff, P.M. (2008). Soybean nodule autoregulation receptor kinase interacts with two kinase-associated protein phosphatases in vitro. J. Biol. Chem. 283: 25381-25391.

Kereszt, A., Dong-Xue, Li, Indrasumunar, A., Nyugen, C., Nontachaiyapoom, S., and Gresshoff, P.M (2007). Testing gene function in transgenic soybean roots. NATUREProtocols 2: 948-952.

Scott, P.T., Pregelj, L., Chen, N., Hadler, J.S., Djordjevic, M.A., and Gresshoff, P.M. (2008).Pongamia pinnata: an untapped resource for the biofuels industry of the future. BioEnergy Research 1:2-11.

Bassam, B.J. and Gresshoff, P.M. (2007). Silver staining DNA in polyacrylamide gels. NATURE Protocols 2: 2649-2654.

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